Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Make Passion a Priority

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Make Passion a Priority

Article excerpt

Byline: SCHOOL OF THOUGHT DR ALI BLACK

IN HER book Passionate Learners: How to engage and empower your students, Pernille Ripp asks teachers to consider this question: Would you like being a student in your own classroom?

This question caused her to change her own approach as a teacher and to give student voice a prominent role in her classroom.

Next semester, my daughter's school is introducing an elective where students can work on a "passion project".

They choose something that they would like to learn more about.

They design how they will learn about it, then schedule their learning, and how they will share their learning with their classmates, teachers and family at the end of the unit.

Bella is so excited about this opportunity.

Even though next semester is a long way away she is already amassing a vast array of possible project ideas.

She is engaged and mesmerised by the possibilities and the "official" project learning hasn't even started.

Passion causes learners to imagine and create, persevere and achieve.

Passion helps learners to excel.

While it would be wonderful for this kind of thinking to permeate the entire school curriculum, it is fabulous that the students at Bella's school will have a chance to flaunt their capabilities.

Through this personalised and personally relevant project they will have a chance to find and express their own authentic voice.

This is going to cultivate and inspire even more passion.

For some students this might be their first taste of real success at school, the first time someone actually recognises their worth, their interests and their ideas. And that someone might not just be their teacher - it might be themselves.

Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold in their book, The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching and Learning, write: "Watch young children at work and play. …

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